Barcelona Travel Guide
Introduction to Barcelona
Barcelona is many things to many people. For lovers of history, the fact that its roots go all the way back to Roman times make this city impossible to miss on their itinerary. For culture hounds, the fact that the fingerprints of Antoni Gaudi are everywhere here makes this Catalan city a bucket list destination.
For everyone else, a combination of those factors, plus world-class beaches and a lively dining/nightlife scene earns it a solid check mark when it comes to plotting out one’s agenda on a trip to Spain.
In short, just visit. Barcelona is an iconic city that has few understudies elsewhere on this planet; at worst, you won’t be bored.
Cultural Experiences in Barcelona
Standing out on Barcelona’s horizon, and seemingly under perpetual construction, the Sagrada Familia is the attraction that you’ll want need to see during your time in Barcelona. Pay no heed to the distracting cranes encircling Gaudi’s architectural coup de grace, as they are busy in the task of getting the cathedral finished in time for its now projected completion in 2026.
Instead, focus on the unorthodox style that characterized this pioneer’s approach to building Christian churches, which includes elements of Spanish Gothic, Art Nouveau, and Modernist schools of architectural thought.
Take your time when going through this masterpiece (it really it is a work of art disguised as a building in many respects), as there is much to see, such as the impossibly detailed Nativity Facade, or simple but cool touches, like the tortoises at the base of many of its support columns.
Looking for a second helping of Gaudi after touring the Sagrada Familia? Head down to Casa Batllo, a reconstructed series of apartments in the city centre of Barcelona that wouldn’t look out of place in a Tim Burton film.
Indeed, locals refer to it as Casa del Ossos, or House of Bones, due to its skeletal appearance. The interior is even wilder than the exterior, as the design of the arches, pillars, windows, and even the fireplace will defy anything you have ever seen in a residential home before.
Looking for a museum that will whet your appetite for more conventional forms of visual art? Check out Museu Picasso, which features some of the best works of one of Spain’s greatest painters. Over 4,200 pieces are contained within five adjacent medieval palaces that had been connected together in order to open of the largest museums dedicated to Pablo Picasso.
In addition to paintings, Picasso had also verged into drawing, engraving and the creation of ceramics, so be sure to keep an eye out for these lesser known works as you make your way through this wonderful tribute to one of the world’s better creative minds.
Other Attractions in Barcelona
Want to enjoy one of Barcelona’s many fabulously sunny days in style? Head up to Caramel Hill, where Park Guell will allow you to bear witness to another of Gaudi’s offbeat creations. Including homes that mirrored Casa Batllo in their offbeat nature, it was meant to build on the English garden movement that was sweeping the world at that time.
Gaudi’s family lived in one of them for over 20 years; however, the housing project failed to succeed in the end, which caused it to be turned into the unorthodox public park that it is today. Look for his trademark mosaics within, but also enjoy the tree-lined paths as well.
Rising up behind Barcelona in the background is a sheer mountain range, with the peaks of Montserrat located within an hour’s train ride from the city centre. Up here, the air is cool and fresh, and the views of the city below and the Mediterranean Sea beyond are nothing short of epic.
That isn’t all there is to do here though, as a monastery that is home to Benedictine monks is located here, and those that seek to rock climb or hike to the top of the many jagged summits found here will find plenty of excellent opportunities to do so here.
Once you make your way back to the city after that worthwhile day trip, spend an evening living it up on La Rambla. Known well by frequent travelers and locals as the place to dine and drink the night away, you will be able to find a tapas bar that will introduce you to the small snacks that the Spanish have down to an art form, as well as pubs that will keep the sangria flowing all afternoon and evening long.